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5 Master's Degrees in Demand from Employers

Due to the changing needs of employers, master's degrees may be more in demand than ever before. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the number of jobs requiring a master's degree could increase 22 percent between 2010 and 2020. Indeed, this employment outlook seems especially favorable when compared with the predicted growth for jobs requiring a bachelor's degree (17 percent) or an associate degree (18 percent). In many ways, earning an online master's degree could be a positive career investment. It may show dedication and passion for your industry and enable you to stand out amongst your peers. It could also increase your chances for promotion or higher-ranking positions within the industry. Before you decide on a master's degree, it may be worthwhile to read below about some of the growing fields in which these degrees may be important.

A master's degree could be an advantage in these 5 fields

  • Business Administration: Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) could open doors to a wide variety of careers in marketing, business operations, advertising, and more. If you're looking for a career in a rapidly-expanding industry, you may want to consider using this degree to pursue employment as a market research analyst, for example. According to BLS, jobs for market research analysts are expected to increase 41 percent nationally from 2010 until 2020. Other occupations for which one may qualify with an MBA are management analysts and advertising, promotions, and marketing managers. BLS predicts that all business and financial operations occupations will grow 17 percent from 2010 to 2020 nationwide. Those interested in earning an MBA may want to consider the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester (Rochester, NY). The Simon School of Business currently offers on-campus courses with full-time and part-time MBA options and programs starting throughout the year. There are also executive MBA and Accelerated Professional MBA programs geared toward working professionals. Simon has been ranked highly by various publications, including Financial Times (London), Forbes, and Businessweek.
  • Civil Engineering: If you like working in the field and designing and implementing construction and transportation projects, you may want to consider working toward a master's degree in civil engineering. According to BLS, the job growth for civil engineers is expected to reach 19 percent nationally from 2010 to 2020. The anticipated growth is mainly due to the future need for civil engineers to redesign aging infrastructure such as roads, levees and bridges. Although civil engineers typically only need a bachelor's degree for entry into the profession, a master's degree is usually required to advance into managerial positions. There are many schools to choose from when it comes to earning an advanced degree in this field. However, none are ranked as highly as the University of Illinois - Urbana - Champaign, according to U.S. News & World Report. The news magazine ranked it as 2013's #1 civil engineering grad school in the U.S. Students can choose to earn a civil engineering degree or a more specialized degree focusing on environmental science or environmental engineering. Those who want to gain additional skills outside of this subject area can look into earning a joint degree in business, computational science, or architecture.
  • Health Care Administration: Due to the growing health care needs of our aging population, the demand for medical and health services managers is on the rise. Although a bachelor's degree is common for entry into this field, many entry-level candidates have master's degrees, as well. BLS expects the number of medical and health services managers to increase by 22 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020. One school offering a wide-reaching Master of Health Administration is the Medical University of South Carolina. The school offers two ways to earn this degree; an executive format conducted primarily online and a residential format comprising on-campus courses and an internship after students' first year. According to the school's website, a master's degree in health administration can prepare graduates for a career in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, physician-based practices, long-term care facilities, and managed care organizations.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapists use therapeutic activities to treat patients with a wide variety of injuries, illness, or disabilities. Since the use of occupational therapy to treat patients has become so common, the growth of jobs in this industry is expected to exceed that of most jobs nationwide. In fact, BLS anticipates a 33 percent increase in positions for occupational therapists nationally from 2010 to 2020. Prospective occupational therapists generally need a master's degree to qualify for entry-level jobs. Those interested in earning a master's degree in occupational therapy can look into the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Health Professions (UTMB). The school offers students a comprehensive on-campus curriculum that encompasses labs and fieldwork in addition to class time. UTMB strives to foster graduates who not only excel in occupational therapy but also work to further societal health in general.
  • Physician Assistant: Forbes ranked physician assistant studies as the #1 master's degree to earn in its list of "The Best And Worst Master's Degrees For Jobs." This may be due to the anticipated job growth expected in coming years. BLS predicts that the increasing number of physicians in specialized medicine and the cost-effectiveness of using assistants rather than physicians will facilitate growth of physician assistant jobs. Due to these and other trends in the medical industry, BLS expects physician assistant jobs to grow 30 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020. One school offering a master's degree program for these professionals is the University of Utah School of Medicine. The school was ranked the #2 grad school for physician assistants by U.S. News & World Report and delivers a comprehensive program to help students gain the clinical experience needed for the career. The school boasts an average passage rate of over 90 percent for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination. Courses help students gain field experience in a variety of outpatient and inpatient settings. Clinical training via observation units, summer practicums, service learning experiences, tutorial sessions, and Friday clinics also provide students an opportunity to further their skills. These five clinical training methods also differentiate the University of Utah from other physician assistant programs, according to the medical school's website.

Putting a master's degree to work

In addition to potential increased salary expectations, employees with a master's degree could attain career advancement and longevity in a variety of in-demand industries. Of course, earning a master's degree does take some additional time and effort, but you could find that the work you put into it may pay off in various ways over the years.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Civil Engineers, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/civil-engineers.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Management Analysts, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/management-analysts.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Market Research Analysts, May 8, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/market-research-analysts.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Occupational Therapists, June 26, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-therapists.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Overview of the 2010-2020 Projections, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/About/Projections-Overview.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition," Physician Assistants, March 29, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm

Forbes, "The Best and Worst Master's Degrees For Jobs," Jacquelyn Smith, June 8, 2012, http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2012/06/08/the-best-and-worst-masters-degrees-for-jobs-2/

U.S. News & World Report, "Best Grad Schools - Civil Engineering," 2013, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering-schools/civil-engineering-rankings

U.S. News & World Report, "Best Grad Schools - Physician Assistant," 2011, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-health-schools/physician-assistant-rankings

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